New AFP chief wants Anti-Terror law to regulate social media

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Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the newly appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, wants to utilize the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Anti-Terror Law to regulate the use of social media in the country.

The AFP’s 54th chief of staff said the measure would prevent radicalism and radicalization of the youth.

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“We’ll be providing some inputs on countering violent extremism and likewise, maybe regulating, even regulating social media because this is the platform now being used by terrorists to radicalize, to recruit and even plan terrorist acts,” Gapay told reporters.

Gapay believes there is a need to include specific provisions in the IRR of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Law. He added the AFP has a say in creating the IRR because the military is at the first line of fighting terrorism in the Philippines.

“(That) is why it will have some recommendations on how the law may be implemented,” the explained.

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Aside from regulating social media, he said the AFP would recommend mechanisms to be crafted at the “sub-national, regional, and the grassroots level to really address this threat of terrorism in our country.”

Gapay’s recommendations include possible provisions in the IRR on improving intelligence sharing “not only domestically but with our foreign counterparts.”

“Because this is a global threat that we need to address. That’s why intelligence fusion, intelligence sharing is very vital,” Gapay noted.

Also read: Duterte: Don’t be afraid if you are not a terrorist

New AFP chief wants Anti-Terror law to

The new AFP chief also recommended provisions on strengthening maritime security, saying some foreign terrorists enter the country through its porous backdoor.

He added the Anti-Terrorism Law’s IRR should also regulate even materials used to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including agricultural products.

“We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is pro-active, and it is geared to prevent the occurrence of terroristic acts. So, we should be able to stop it even if it’s just at planning stage,” he added partly in Filipino.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the anti-terrorism council had its first meeting last week as the Department of Justice is preparing the IRR.

“I believe all of us will be provided a draft of the IRR, look at it so that we can place our input there. It’s still a work in progress. We have 90 days since the signing of the law to come up with the IRR. So, we still have the time to carefully study what we will do with the IRR,” Lorenzana explained.

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